LOVE NOT THE WORLD (part 7)

UntitledNotice that Solomon says he gave himself to the GOOD things of the world. He slipped in a place or two to do evil, but that was not his intention. His intention was to enjoy the good things.

“So I was great, and increased more than all that were before me in Jerusalem: also my wisdom remained with me. 10 And whatsoever mine eyes desired I kept not from them, I withheld not my heart from any joy; for my heart rejoiced in all my labour: and this was my portion of all my labour. 11 Then I looked on all the works that my hands had wrought, and on the labour that I had laboured to do: and, behold, all was vanity and vexation of spirit, and there was no profit under the sun” (Ecc. 2:9-11).

Was he involved with the cares of this world? He says plainly that he gave himself fully to them. He gave his heart to any joy and he even mentions wine. He tried it all. Was there anything eternal in the things he tried? Did he enjoy them? His heart rejoiced in all his labor. Even work did not make him sad, but there was no eternal profit.

What about today? What is the difference between us and Solomon? Why did Solomon stop doing what he said he set out to do? He realized there was no eternal good in enjoying all those things. Notice he did not say there was no profit on the earth (under the sun). He talks about the profit of wisdom and of knowledge. There is much profit in wisdom. Does the sun shine on wisdom? No, the sun cannot shine on it because wisdom is a spiritual quality. Does the sun shine on purity, godliness, temperance or holiness? On the earth, the sun does not shine on those qualities because spiritual things are invisible. Then what was Solomon unhappy about? He was not happy with whatever the sun shined on—he was not happy with the earthly things. None of the earthly things were eternal.

  • The Pharisee knew exactly what Jesus referred to when he said they could not love God and mammon (the material world).
  • “No servant can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon. And the Pharisees also, who were covetous, heard all these things: and they derided him” (Luke 16:13-14).
  • “And he said also unto his disciples, There was a certain rich man, which had a steward; and the same was accused unto him that he had wasted his goods” (Luke 16:1).

Pharisees would not let go of this world, so God did not open their eyes. Will God open my eyes if I love this world? God has given a test and a commandment. We must make a choice. The Pharisees chose to love this world. If we are like the Pharisees, we will spend eternity with them. If we believe Jesus, what will we do? If we have faith in Jesus, what will we do? If we trust him what will we do? We will turn our minds away from all these temporary, earthly things toward things that will last forever (spiritual things). Most people will not accept this teaching. This is the very price everyone must pay, this is the entrance to the gate—the narrow gate (Matt. 7:13-14). Not many are able to go through that narrow gate.

Some who have tried to hold on to both lives want to change God’s word to read “love not worldliness,” nor the things of “worldliness.” However, the word our Heavenly Father used was not “worldliness.” His scriptures use the word “world” in several senses, including the people and the material world.

Demas’ love for this world caused him to leave God. Others also fell to the same temptation. They obviously failed to heed the warning in Romans 13:14.

  • “But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof” (Rom. 13:14).
  • “For Demas hath forsaken me, having loved this present world, and is departed unto Thessalonica; Crescens to Galatia, Titus unto Dalmatia” (2 Tim. 4:10).
  • “But whoso hath this world’s good, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him?” (1 John 3:17).
  • “So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth. Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked: (Rev. 3:16-17).
  • Gaining the whole world is not speaking about the people but about material.
  • “Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it. For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?” (Matt. 16:24-26).

LOVE NOT THE WORLD (Part 6)

Untitled“If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. 2 Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth” (Col. 3:1-2).  Notice in verse 1, we need to seek the things which are above.  Will that be physical or spiritual things?  Christ is at the right hand of God.  Are there physical things there?  Our minds should not be on the physical.  This passage is saying we should literally put our minds on things above.  What about things on the earth?  Should we set our minds on them?  Obviously we need food and clothing to live, so we know we must use the material things.  Even so, Jesus said not to be concerned about food and clothing (Matt. 6:8; Matt. 6:30-34).  He said these were the things the nations seek after.  We need to put our mind on things above and NOT on things on the earth.  If we do not set our minds on things on the earth, will we love them?

The definition of “set your affection on” in Colossians 3:2 is specifically “to exercise the mind.”  This indicates that this choice between loving and living for the temporary world and loving and living for spiritual things and eternity is not simply a one-time decision; it is a continual process as Paul described in 1 Corinthians 9:27.  “But I keep under my (physical) body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway” (1 Cor. 9:27). This must be a daily battle, a daily decision, and a consciously chosen state of mind in order to keep our minds in the right direction.  “For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal” (2 Cor. 4:16-18). In order to have the strength to make this daily choice, we must perpetually remember what Paul speaks of, that this world is “but for a moment,” and that there is “a far more exceeding and eternal” glory awaiting us if we focus on that spiritual world instead of this temporary one.

“For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.  17 And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever” (1 John 2:16-17).  Who created these things?  The one who created our mouths, the same one who made us so we can be tempted is the creator of all.  He tells us three temptations here: desires of the flesh, of the eye and pride of life.

What about our five senses?  Some love music and feed their ears all the time.  They are attached to the plugs in their ears wherever they go.  What about the smell of flowers, fresh soil, rain or perfume?  Some love the smell of fancy food.  Others love feeling of things—touch.  The Lord has created us so we can be tempted.  He made Christ the same way.  What is his point here: God has made everything we can know with our senses to be temporary.  These things are of the world.  In verse 17 we see that the world passes away and so will the temporary desires.

LOVE NOT THE WORLD (part 5)

UntitledThink back on the parable of the sower in Matthew 13:21-22 and pay particular attention to what causes some to be offended.

  • Yet hath he not root in himself, but dureth for a while: for when tribulation or persecution ariseth because of the word, by and by he is offended. 22 He also that received seed among the thorns is he that heareth the word; and the care of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, choke the word, and he becometh unfruitful (Matt. 13:21-22).

What are all these desires of the world?  They are things that take our time and effort.  If our lives are focused on the things of the world, how much time do we have left for the Lord?  How can we be good ground?

  • They on the rock are they, which, when they hear, receive the word with joy; and these have no root, which for a while believe, and in time of temptation fall away. 14 And that which fell among thorns are they, which, when they have heard, go forth, and are choked with cares and riches and pleasures of this life, and bring no fruit to perfection (Luke 8:13-14)?.

Note that in Luke he adds two more things and describes the problem quite nicely.  In verse 14, some brethren are choked.  The weeds take all their time.  Notice what is choking them—the cares, riches, pleasures of this life.  These things are not evil in themselves.  Jesus used money but he did not love it (Matt. 17:27; 1 Tim. 6:10).  He was not given to pleasures the world enjoys.  Those things are all temporary.  No matter what we do with them they are only temporary.  Only what we do for the Lord is eternal.

Can anyone who loves this cosmos be pleasing to God?  Can you love the cosmos and the good things of the world as long as you do not love the evil?  If that is possible, then of what value is the command in 1 John 2:15-17?  Let’s see what else Jesus has to say in the Sermon on the Mount.  “No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon” (Matt. 6:24).  Why did the translators put in the word mammon instead of material things?  What is mammon?  The English translators used the Aramaic word mammon to stay out of trouble with the one who commissioned the translation.  What would King James have done to them if they had translated that word properly?  How does this apply to us?  We must love one and hate the other.  How do we hate these material things?  Do we take a hammer and go around beating them?  How do we hate the world and the things of the world?  Why can we not serve God and mammon at the same time?  Is there a difference between not serving mammon and not loving the world?

  • No servant can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon. 14 And the Pharisees also, who were covetous, heard all these things: and they derided him. 15 And he said unto them, Ye are they which justify yourselves before men; but God knoweth your hearts: for that which is highly esteemed among men is abomination in the sight of God (Luke 16:13-15).

Literally the word mammon in both passages means material.  Why did the Pharisees not like this sermon?  They coveted the material things.  What should we not love? How can we hate or despise material?  What did Jesus think of material things?

“Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God” (Heb. 12:2).  What did Jesus think of man’s judgment?  What did he think of the shame?  Where did the shame come from?  The word “despise” is Strong’s Greek # 2706 and is the same word that is used in Matt. 6:24—hold to one and despise the other.  Jesus’ despised the shame, but we must understand where the shame came from.  Whose judgment was it?  Man judged the cross as a shame.  What did Jesus think of their judgment?  He held on to God’s judgment and despised man’s.  What if we hold on to people’s judgment that material things are important?  Do we value those material things?

“And that he died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again” (2 Cor. 5:15).  Jesus died that we would not live for ourselves.  If we live to ourselves, what do we love?  We love the world and the things in it—mammon.  But if we live for Jesus, will we love the material things; will we value them?

LOVE NOT THE WORLD (Part 4)

UntitledAccording to 1 John 2:15, what happens if I love the world?  The love of the Father is not in me!  One man was proud to announce that he loved the world and things of the world, and another immediately finished quoting the scripture to him saying, “Then the love of the Father is not in you.”  The first man declared “That scripture does not mean that!”

If God does not say what he means, how can you know what He means?  1 John 2:16 tells why we should not love the world.  He names the things of the world.  “For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.”  He names the things of the world.  Desires of flesh and eyes are not of the Father.  This includes words that march, dance and sing as they become Beowulf, Chaucer, Shakespeare, Milton or Frost!  Do you know anyone who does not love at least some of the things around them?

  • And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins; 2 Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience: 3 Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others (Eph. 2:1-3).

Foods may taste good, but we should not love them.  What should be our motivation when we eat?  We need to eat for strength and not for drunkenness (Ecc. 10:17).  “Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others” (Eph. 2:3).  How does Satan appeal?  He appeals to us through the desires (lust is the same Greek word) of the flesh and mind.  What do the nations of the world do?  They love and enjoy this world—this cosmos or universe.  What are they according to the last part of this verse? They are children of wrath.

LOVE NOT THE WORLD (part 3)

UntitledDo you know any scripture that contradicts this command which says we can love the material things of the world but are not to love “worldliness” or the “evil” things which are in the world?  At first glance Colossians 2:20-22 appears to give permission to love the material things in the world, but let’s see if it does.

  • Wherefore if ye be dead with Christ from the rudiments of the world, why, as though living in the world, are ye subject to ordinances, 21 (Touch not; taste not; handle not; 22 Which all are to perish with the using;) after the commandments and doctrines of men (Col. 2:20-22)?

In Colossians 2:20-22, what are we dead to?  We obviously are dead to the old man (Rom. 6:6) and the things of the old man which would include the rudiments of the world that the Gentiles seek after (Matt. 6:32).  Yes, we are to leave the rudiments and principles of this world.  So what are the rules the world has?  What do we touch?  We touch material things.  What do we taste?  We taste the material things.  What do we handle?  Again it is material things.  What will happen to all material in Colossians 2:22?  Is this not the same command as in 1 John 2:15, because all these things will perish (1 John 2:17).  Who gives commandments regarding these material things?  God commands Christians not to love these things, but men make new laws which say do not eat it or touch it.  God does not command us not to eat or touch it; he says not to love it.  What should we do?  How can we not love these material things?  We must focus on and love eternal things.  If we love the world and then die, our chief love is gone.  What if we love purity, holiness and goodness?  We can carry that with us and not suffer any loss at all.  What does he want us to love?  Will it be the physical man or the spiritual man, which is renewed day by day?

  • While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal (2 Cor. 4:18).

What is Paul not looking toward?  Did he go around with his eyes covered?  What does he mean?  Those earthly things were not valuable to him.  He was not concerned with the outward things.  Did he love them?  They are neither eternal nor important to him.  Is there any command that tells us to love the material of the world?  Jesus did nothing without specific authority from his Father (John 5:19, 30) and we should follow his example.  How much did Jesus have when he died?  We know that Jesus was satisfied with food and clothing (1 Tim. 6:7-8).